No consent given to Atomic Mineral Division for exploratory drilling, says Meghalaya deputy CM
The statement came in the wake of three Atomic Mineral Division officials, including a scientist, being assaulted last week at Wahkaji where they were involved in exploratory drilling of minerals.Updated: Jul 31, 2018 20:11 IST
Meghalaya deputy chief minister Prestone Tynsong on Tuesday said his government has not given its consent to Atomic Mineral Division (AMD) for exploratory drilling of minerals in uranium-rich Wahkaji village in South West Khasi Hills district.
The statement came in the wake of three AMD officials, including a scientist, being assaulted last week at Wahkaji where they were involved in exploratory drilling of minerals.
The state government has instructed district deputy commissioner I Laloo to seek clarification from the AMD in this regard, Tynsong told PTI.
Stating that no consent was given to AMD for exploratory drilling of uranium deposits, he said the state cabinet has unanimously decided to stop all such activities in South West Khasi Hills district.
The decision would be reverted only if the people feel that there is a full proof mechanism and protection from the radiation effects of uranium, Tynsong said.
The Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council, a tribal council under which the village falls, too denied giving permission to AMD for exploratory activities in sensitive Wahkaji area.
No the Council has not given permission for such exploratory drilling, Council chief executive member H S Shylla said.
He said the executive committee of the Council will visit Mawthabah on August 2 to see the nature of activities undertaken by AMD at Mawthabah-Wahkaji area.
AMD regional director Sandeep Hamilton when contacted did not reply to queries whether the body had by-passed the state government and the tribal council. He advised that queries be sent officially to the offices.
Laloo claimed that the AMD had admitted that the assaulted officials were sent to study geological formations and collect mineral samples from Wahkaji-Mawthabah area and maintained that no mining had taken place.
The organisation, she said, has suspended all activities in the area after the assault of its officers.
The AMD had got the permission from the land owner and drilling activities started on July 21, she said quoting the AMD regional director.
It was instructed to inform the district authorities for various factors including security of the officials, she said.
On July 25, the three AMD officials were injured after a group of protesters stormed the organisation’s office at Wahkaji and assaulted them.
Two vehicles and a drilling machine were torched by the mob.
First Published: Jul 31, 2018 20:10 IST